On the battle-scarred world of Bawk, the Mau people struggle for survival amid the blasted ruins of their once-great cities, and an alien menace, the Bramble Claw, has arrived at the worst possible time. In the midst of political upheaval and teetering on the brink of revolution, the Mau will have to find a way to unify their treacherous Houses and face the common threat.
But the Mau are no strangers to war. Their bloody history spans nearly 2,000 years of conflict. Even before the three great houses were formed, the Mau did battle with each other for control of planet Bawk’s most precious resource, the coveted Mega Cores, and this latest war is only the latest in a long legacy of power struggles.
Now, facing utter subjection from the Bramble Claw, the Mau quickly forget their old rivalries and scramble for any advantage they can grasp. That advantage comes from a most unexpected place.
The current ruling body, the not-so-noble House Uresh, has responded to the Bramble Claw threat by conscripting tens of thousands of the undercity’s lowly denizens into their armies. Even the most inexperienced soldiers will be sent to the front line to protect all of Mau civilization from the invaders.
Aspen, a faceless soldier among the ranks of countless Ureshi conscripts, has been stranded behind enemy lines on a routine cargo transfer when her transport ship goes down deep in Bramble Claw territory. Aspen survives the crash only by climbing into the very cargo she’d been transporting: an outdated Omegamech known as the Luz.
Her orders were to transport the old mecha to one of the few remaining Mau-controlled scrapyards to be salvaged, but now it’s the only thing between her and an army of Bramble Claw.
Among her supporters are her long-time companion and fellow conscript Rainer, a hot-headed showboat of a mech-pilot; the wise-cracking mechanic Jax, whose genius may be the only thing able to turn the rusty old Luz into a viable combat machine; and an old war hero, General Emitt of House Kass.
The aid of the old General is a mystery to Aspen. Where most of Fat-Cats wouldn’t blink over leaving her to die out there, General Emitt shows an unexpected interest in the stranded soldier. Does he know something they don’t?